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Pharmaceutical firm Hospira Inc. will pay $400,000 in back wages with interest to 145 female job applicants to settle hiring discrimination charges by the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the DOL said Tuesday.
New York-based Pfizer Corp. completed its acquisition of Hospira in September. Hospira has more than $35 million in government contracts for developing and manufacturing injection medications for the U.S. government, according to the DOL.
In addition to paying the $400,000, Hospira committed to hiring 11 female job applicants, according to the DOL.
The OFCCP found in its investigation that female applicants for pharmacy attendant positions were hired at much lower rates than similarly qualified male applicants at Hospira's McPherson, Kansas, facility, and that Hospira violated record-keeping requirements by failing to preserve employment applications and interview forms, the DOL said.
“Discrimination is preventable when employers have nondiscriminatory selection procedures in place and see to it that they are followed,” said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu, in the statement. “Hospira has worked proactively with our agency to resolve the alleged discrimination and to ensure that all required employment records will be maintained going forward.”
Hospira said in a statement it “believes hiring practices at the plant have been fair.To close this matter from 2012 out, the company has entered into a conciliation agreement with the OFCCP. Hospira has a strong track record of compliance with OFCCP requirements and is confident our hiring practices support the company's priority of employing diverse and skilled talent.”
Last week, a Minnesota fastener company agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle OFCCP charges that it discriminated against 171 black and female job applicants who sought general warehouse positions at two of its distribution facilities in Indianapolis and Atlanta.
A federal appeals court has reinstated a race discrimination charge filed by a former engineering firm employee who was allegedly hired at a lower salary than a similarly-qualified white worker, then became the first employee involuntarily terminated in a reduction in force after he complained.